| October 22, 2018

What Makes a Good Dissertation Topic?Doctoral learners have to think carefully about the topic they choose for the dissertation. The essential/primary characteristics of a good topic are listed below.1. It sustains a learners’ interest over time (Rudestam and Newton, 2007).2. It is researchable and within the learner’s scope of influence (not overly ambitious).3. It is NOT closely linked to emotional issues that may solve a personal issue in one’s life, or on which one has an “axe to grind” (Rudestam and Newton, 2007).4. It is manageable within the allotted time period.5. It makes an original contribution to the field and allows the learner to develop mastery of the subject and method (Rudestam and Newton, 2007).6. It may involve studying an old subject in a new way or from a different perspective.7. It is appropriate to the learner’s degree and specialization area.8. It addresses a real problem or question.Assignment Directions:1. Read each example topic in the table and ask yourself, “Will this be a good or a poor dissertation topic, based on the eight characteristics?” Reflect on the topic and characteristics and make your decision.2. In the “Evaluation” column, check the Good or Poor box.3. In the “Rationale” column, record the number of each characteristic that was present for a Good topic or absent for a Poor topic.4. In the last column, “Suggestions to Improve the Topic,” write suggestions for improving each Poor topic. Include suggestions for improving Good topics, if you like.5. The last example topic simply says, “I am going to…” This provides you an opportunity to gather thoughts about your topic or topic ideas and write them down. You do not have to evaluate the topic; however, it is a good idea to write down the number of the characteristics that apply to the topic you have written. What you write is for the sole purpose of this assignment; you will not be held to it for the future.Example TopicEvaluationRationaleSuggestions to Improve the TopicStudent A is going to investigate whether there is a relationship between the authentic leadership behaviors of nurse managers and staff nurse job satisfaction and retention.GoodPoorStudent B is going to study employee motivation, as he has aspirations of becoming the director of personnel for the National Basketball Association.GoodPoorStudent C is going to study the lived experiences of single parent students and the university support services that enable them to persist in their degree programs to graduation.GoodPoorStudent D is going to conduct a study to prove that the owner of her nail salon is a toxic leader. She plans to collect data through on-site customer interviews.GoodPoorStudent E is going to explore the relationship between student attendance in early childhood education programs and subsequent academic success of children in third grade.GoodPoorStudent F is going to study whether nature or nurture contributes to the success of doctoral learners.GoodPoorStudent G is going to conduct a study designed to determine if a relationship exists between employee perceptions of servant leadership, as practiced by their supervisor, and employee job satisfaction.GoodPoorStudent H is going to conduct a study of Al-Queda members to explore how they use social networking to recruit members.GoodPoorStudent I is a school teacher who is going to study the neuropsychological impact that Asperger’s Syndrome has on children with the disease. She is going to collect data by reviewing the children’s medical records, interviewing their doctors, the parents, and the children themselves.GoodPoorStudent J is going to study the reasons why some mothers choose to be absent from their children’s lives, with the intent of changing their mindset.GoodPoorIam going to…Source: Rudestam, K. & Newton, R. (2007). Surviving your dissertation: a comprehensive guide to content and process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.© 2012. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved.

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